The contributions come as COVID-19 challenges remain for businesses, said Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the chamber, in a statement. The gift cards can be used at 32 local businesses, including retail shops like Zanna, The Toy Box and Provisions; restaurants including Pasta e Basta, Osteria Vespa and The Works Bakery and Cafe; and service-oriented places, such as Amherst Dog Wash, Global Cuts and The Lift Salon. “The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce launched the gift card program at the height of our pandemic in an effort to buoy them and help them keep their doors open,” Pazmany said. “As severe understaffing continues to plague our businesses, we knew we had to activate the purchase power of buying local.”
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Molly Keegan, co-owner of Curran & Keegan financial advisers, said her company’s gift is aimed at encouraging more local shopping. The matched gift cards will be sold only at the Visitor Information Center, at 35 South Pleasant St., which is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Forget the big mail-order Internet retailers and embrace the joy of shopping in our friends’ and neighbors’ stores,” Keegan said. Beginning on Friday, people are able to purchase $25 gift cards with a $1 processing fee that will be doubled in value as a result of the matches. An individual is limited to buying two $25 gift cards.
Those who purchase the Amherst gift cards, while the match lasts, will receive two red tickets toward the Red Ticket drawing for four $250 cash prizes and one $1,000 cash prize. That drawing will be held Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. at Kendrick Park. The program is similar to one launched by the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce following a $10,000 donation from Scott and Jill Keiter of Keiter Builders.
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- Corporate donations mean Amherst gift cards will double in value
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